Although most of the western world has successfully eliminated Malaria, the disease can still be re-introduced and transmitted by an anophele mosquito that bites an infected person and can pass along the disease. Even if anti-malaria medication is taken, it is not 100 per cent effective and necessary preparation and precaution must be practiced when travelling to countries where malaria exists.
Malaria is active in Africa, South-East Asia, and parts of the Western Pacific. Although other regions are not typically associated with the disease, it is not uncommon for parts of Europe and South America to be at risk as well.
Countries with tropical climates that reside closer to the equator have a higher chance for breeding ground due to the humidity and rainfall. Alternatively, high-altitude and cooler climates have a lower threat.
It is important to note that if you are not sure of whether the country you are visiting is at risk for Malaria, you should make a travel-medicine appointment and consult a physician who can advise you on your pre-travel planning.
Signs and Symptoms
- Body aches
If you experience any of the above symptoms while in an affected country or have returned home from your travels and experience the above you must go to the hospital or consult your doctor.
Key Facts- provided by the World Health Organization (WHO)
- Malaria is preventable and curable.
- Non-immune travelers from malaria-free areas are very vulnerable to the disease when they get infected.
- There were about 219 million cases of malaria in 2010.
- In 2010, Malaria caused an estimated 660,000 deaths.
How to stay protected from mosquito bites
- Mosquitos are more active in the early hours after dawn and during the early evening. Avoid outdoor activity if possible or wear a protective net.
- Keep your body covered with light clothing and wear a hat and boots or shoes.
- Apply DEET repellent.
- Stay in accommodation that is properly covered and air-conditioned, if possible. Avoid rural huts that will allow mosquitoes to enter. If camping outdoors, use a bed net.
- Purchase insect repellent clothing treated with permethrin. This chemical is harmless to humans and is not easily absorbed in the skin. However, it is effective for up to two to six weeks and will protect against mosquitoes.